This beginner bird course will introduce the importance of habitats to the types of birds we see and help to promote strategies to help improve your identification of migrant and resident birds in autumn.

Many of us focus upon birds as we start to develop a connection with nature, as they are both common and colourful. In the autumn, there are often large numbers of winter visitors moving from northern latitudes along with our resident birds.

During this beginner bird course we will focus upon upland and freshwater habitats, and will hopefully see a range of species at a time when many birds are on the move. This course provides an opportunity to see and become familiar with a range of common and/or characteristic British species that you may see during autumn. There will be a clear emphasis upon building confidence with identification, together with an understanding of the ecology of the ecosystems these birds are found in. The aim throughout is to nurture each individual’s enthusiasm for nature and inspire continued exploration of our avifauna.

Preston Montford is set on a 12-hectare estate, surrounded by a rich range of habitats, including the River Severn and semi-ancient woodland, set in the heart of Shropshire with views disappearing into Wales.
PLEASE NOTE the course fee is for tuition only. There is no accommodation provided with this course. If you would like to book accommodation, lunch and an evening meal at Preston Montford, please email [email protected]

If you are interested in taking your interest your bird watching hobby a step further, learning how to use identification keys and understanding their habitats then this is the course for you.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Early career ecologists, Citizen scientists, Volunteer surveyors, Land managers

Knowledge Level

Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

A basic understanding of bird species and terminology would be beneficial for this course, though no specific experience is needed. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

What will be covered during this course?

    • An overview of the bird habitats and how that can inform an identification
    • Identification of the major bird groups and their differences
    • How to use identification guides and keys
    • Overview of factors effecting birds

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Recognise some characteristic species from each habitat
    • State the key features of different groups/families that you’ve seen
    • Use this knowledge to narrow down the ID of unfamiliar birds
    • Understand some of the factors that determine population size
    • Better appreciate the lives of birds and so derive more enjoyment from your developing interest/hobby
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our fantastic tutor will combine the use of classroom-led learning and outside learning opportunities to give individuals the skills and confidence to progress their learning.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
    • Upon booking you will need to provide individual details of all attendees
    • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more!

Tutor: Sandy Hill

Sandy Hill worked for the FSC over a decade, teaching at 9 centres in England and Wales. Having recently retired, he’s now exploring more of Pembrokeshire as a keen birder and enthusiastic natural historian. However, he is happiest when able to share his knowledge and love of the environment.

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe, we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • Wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • Maintains social distancing.
  • Cleans their hands regularly.
  • Takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00am
  • The course will end at 5:00pm.

Day 1

10:15amClassroom session covering:

  • Introduction to bird habitats
  • Species we may see
11:15amPrepare for the field session - refreshments not included
11:30pmField visit to Long Mynd
1:00pmLunch - not provided
2:00pmContinued field time
4:00pmClassroom plenary, summary and final questions

Please note accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal are not included

Day 2

10:00amIntroduction to the day and recap
10:45amPrepare for field visit - refreshments not included
11:00amField visit to Polemere and Prioslee Reservoir
12:30pmBreak for lunch - Not included
1:30pmContinued field time
4:00pmClassroom plenary, summary and final questions


What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

Recommended Guides

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.